Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Soft drinks may be hard on brain

  • Print

Glugging lots of sugary drinks won't just make you fat, it might also lead to changes in the brain that have been linked to cancer and Alzheimer's disease -- at least in rats.

This finding comes from the first analysis of how sugary drinks affect proteins in the brain. It showed that 20 per cent of the proteins produced in a brain region related to decision-making were different in rats that drank sugary drinks from those of rats that had been given water.

It is well established that drinking sugar-sweetened drinks is linked to obesity and diabetes as well as to increased risk of cardiovascular problems. A recent estimate put the global number of deaths associated with soft drinks at 184,000 a year.

But the effects of sugar-rich drinks on the brain have received much less attention. "For many people around the world, soft drinks are their sole source of liquid, or at least they provide a very high proportion of their daily calories," says Jane Franklin of the behavioural neuropharmacology lab at Macquarie University in Sydney, who carried out the new analysis. "We know that soft drinks are bad for the body, so it's reasonable to assume that they aren't doing anything good for your brain, either."

To confirm that assumption, Franklin and her colleague Jennifer Cornish gave 24 adult rats either water or a solution of water containing 10 percent sugar -- about the proportion you would find in a typical can of soda -- for 26 days.

For the following seven days, both groups were given only water. At the end of that time, the rats that drank the sugary drink were significantly more hyperactive -- spending lots more time moving around -- than the control group. "Hyperactivity is a physical sign that something unusual is happening in the brain," Franklin says. It is probably a reflection of changes being made to return the system back to its pre-sugar state, after it had adjusted to prolonged sugar consumption, she says.

To find out what was going on, the team looked at the rats' orbital frontal cortex.

Of the 1,373 proteins identified there in both sets of rats, 290 were altered in those that drank sugary drinks but not those that drank water.

-- New Scientist

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2013 D9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Stuart Murray announces musical RightsFest for CMHR opening weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What should the city do with the 102-year-old Arlington Street bridge?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google